Officials of Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary have been accused of allegedly masterminding the damage to oil pipelines so as to benefit from the money spent on repairs and clean-up operations.
According to a report from Reuters, this disclosure is contained in a report from a Dutch investigative TV programme, Zembla, on Thursday, December 9, 2020.
The report, while citing research by Dutch environmental group Milleudefensie, specifically revealed that employees of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) recruited local youth to destroy the pipelines and then went to hire them back as workers to clean up the oil spillage.
However, Shell in its reaction, said it investigates all credible reports of misconduct and takes action where needed.
Shell’s Dutch head office stated, “As of now, we are not aware of any staff or contractor having been involved in acts causing oil spills in the Niger Delta.’’
The Dutch TV investigative programme also alleged that this was brought to the notice of officials of Shell and the Dutch ambassador to Nigeria by local leaders in 2018, they refused to act on those warnings.
Milieudefensie, in a statement on Thursday, disclosed that the focus of its research was on the village of Ikarama, where it said had experienced about 30 oil spills in the last 13 years.
It said, “The majority of the leaks in Ikarama were the result of instructions given by Shell Nigeria employees.’’
While citing statements made to the police and Nigeria’s Ikarama Youth Council by witnesses and other participants, Zembia pointed out that the profit made on the cleaning operations was shared between SPDC employees and the youths.
What you should know
- Shell Petroleum Development Company has been subject of various accusations of negligence that has caused oil spillages from their facilities by host communities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
- This has led to various lawsuits instituted against Shell for various degrees of pollution and devastation of the environment with loss of means of livelihood for the community.
Gold prices drop on U.S. Senate run-off elections
Gold futures dropped about 0.33% to trade at $1,947.
Gold prices drifted lower at mid week’s trading session.
Traders are going short partly on awaited results of the U.S. Senate runoff election and gauging the prospects of further quantitative easing programs.
What you should know: At the time of writing this report, gold futures dropped about 0.33% to trade at $1,947.
Votes are presently being counted in the Georgia election, where two U.S Senate seats are up for grabs.
What this means: Traders are focusing on the outcome of such election results on the bias that it will determine which party will have control of the upper chamber in the U.S congress, and the ease with which President-elect Joe Biden can move his legislative agenda through.
Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi, in a note to Our source, spoke on the political macros weighing on gold prices:
“Gold is in a holding pattern ahead of Georgia runoff results.
“Gold continues to trade on the front foot after a roaring start to 2021 for TIPS, which outperformed about everything on Monday and reached new highs.
“It feels like there was a wave of last-ditch efforts effort to have the ‘blue wave’ trade on ahead of a Topsy Turvy Tuesday Senate election runoff in Georgia.”
What to expect: gold traders are anticipating a pause in action today until the election results are released as any disappointment (i.e., no blue wave) there could cause some pullback. However, with a long end of the curve firmly supported by the reflation narrative, gold could remain well supported on dips.
Oil prices plunge over OPEC+ drama
Oil prices drifted lower amid reports revealing OPEC+ members are disconnected as regards to February crude oil output quota.
Oil prices drifted lower at the second trading session of the year amid reports revealing OPEC+ members are disconnected as regards to February crude oil output quota.
What you must know: At the time of writing this report, Brent oil futures lost about 0.70% to trade at $50.70 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate, futures were down more than 0.50% to trade at $47.55 a barrel, thereby giving up earlier gains sighted in Tuesday’s early trades.
Both major benchmarks lost more than 1% during the last trading session on the account that the oil cartel group was forced to extended Monday’s Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, as its members failed to agree to reach a compromise on February’s oil output levels.
Also, oil traders had their minds distorted as fuel demand worries also continue to remain on major headlines on the bias that a number of global COVID-19 cases continue to rise and more nations introduce restrictive measures.
Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi in a note to Themoneymetrics gave an in-depth analysis of the fundamentals pushing oil prices lower and highlighted the mutant COVID-19 strain causing havoc in leading economies;
- “The oil market toppled head over heels with broader markets as the sum of all fear for oil market concerns centers around lockdown consternations. All the while, OPEC was doing their best to hold prices in check emphasizing the need for continued cooperation and vigilance in the face of the uncertain outlook.
- “The most worrying aspect for oil market concerns is the case of a brave new year giving way to the same old fear as the re-imposition of worldwide lockdown to defend against the coronavirus’s mutant strain will pose the greatest near-term risk on the path back to oil demand normalcy.”
What to expect: Far more important for crude oil traders will be news flow relating to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, stimulus measures being considered by various governments, and how quickly the world can get back on the path to normal oil demand levels via the vaccine rollouts.
Gold on a grand slam win, gains $40 per ounce
Gold futures were trading at $1,937 an ounce printing a gain of $42 per ounce.
The yellow metal pushed above $1,930 an ounce to hit the highest level seen in months, aided by a weaker greenback after posting its best annual gain in ten years.
The precious metal recent surge has been triggered by continual declines in U.S. real Treasury yields, which boosted the precious metal attractiveness.
At the time of writing this report, gold futures were trading at $1,937 an ounce printing a gain of $42 per ounce.
Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi in a note to our source spoke on markets sentiments triggering the precious metal prices to swing up;
“With the polls shading to a Democratic sweep such a result guarantees larger stimulus checks will be mailed out forthwith, and massive U.S. infrastructure spending packages get fast-tracked through Congress in Q1. All of which is sending risk sentiment through the roof.
“But a bigger US stimulus boost cannot be good for the U.S. dollar which is already brittle and snapping under the colossal weight of the massive U.S. budget and trade deficits.”
What to expect: Still, the increased US debt load will be music to gold investors’ ears, and the Democratic sweep could offer the ultimate spark to put gold above $2000/0z.